Working life has changed for many, beyond all recognition over the last year or so. The Covid pandemic has led to many working remotely, and also to a rising talent war as more employees than ever are looking for new employment opportunities. The start of a New Year has always been a popular time to re-evaluate career options, this year promises to be even more prominent on that front. So how can business owners and managers improve staff loyalty and retain their people on a long-term basis?
We spoke to our CEO, Jerry Brand, who has been running successful businesses for more than 35 years to get his views on cultivating a robust and loyal team.
How do you encourage staff to stay at your company?
As an SME leader it is vital during challenging periods and beyond, to nurture loyalty by keeping in touch with your people on a regular basis and listening to their feedback. That means being present and visible in meetings wherever possible and working to build a progressive culture of positivity where people can grow and thrive. We have various teams at Zupa, and our team leaders are always working closely with their people, whether that is via one-to-one conversations or as part of a bigger group. It is crucial to retain a regular dialogue to better understand the individual members of your workforce. This close contact is even more important now that we have moved towards a hybrid remote business model. Having said that, as a business we are very conscious of the importance of retaining face to face interactions, so we are currently organising a physical meeting space so that we can all meet up together both socially and for in-person business interactions.
What issues are you currently having to deal with?
We have learned through leaning into deeper conversations with our teams, that even though some individuals are openly struggling with the move towards remote working and are quite vocal about it, there are others who will avoid saying anything; perhaps because they are embarrassed or are worried about making a fuss. This kind of thing can potentially lead to those employees leaving the business, in search of a more physical office environment. Even though there will be occasions where you can’t avoid staff moving on, it is important to have had those conversations, firstly to see if anything can be done to improve the situation at the time, and secondly to learn from the experience for the future. It is important that we, as business leaders, continue to talk more to our people and to dig deeper into potential worries before they escalate.
In terms of the business landscape for 2022, do you see lots of movement coming up in terms of staff leaving?
As with any industry, people will come and go, that is the norm. Also, there will always be seasonal pressures that entice people to change focus or those who sometimes have a more specific focus on their career and/or where they work and are getting their working experience from. Right now though, things on that front seem to be pretty standard in my view, but I think for those businesses that are retaining good people, that will be down to their internal comms.
What is it making them think about looking for new roles in general i.e. what might trigger this?
The issues that are enticing people to leave their roles, tend to be lack of development opportunities, not being recognised for their contributions, lack of flexibility to improve work-life balance, environmental ethics of the company, battles with salary and remuneration, boredom and simply itchy feet – all of which are key triggers.